What is Adenocarcinoma?
Adenocarcinoma is a type of cancer that develops in the lining of the glands of different areas of the body including the breast, prostate, pancreas, esophagus, stomach, lungs, colon, and rectum. Adenocarcinoma develops in the cells located in the glands that line the body organs. These cells are known as glandular epithelial cells. They secrete mucous, digestive juices, and other liquids. If they start growing out of control, tumors form. These tumors are known as adenomas and the cancerous ones are known as adenocarcinomas.
Adenocarcinoma can eventually spread to other organs of the body.
According to the American Cancer Society, adenocarcinoma account for the majority of breast cancers, 96 percent of colorectal cancers, 40 percent of non-small cell lung cancer, 95 percent of pancreatic cancers, and 100 percent of prostate cancer. (1, 2, 3, 4, 5)
Causes of Adenocarcinoma
There are a few factors that lead to the development of adenocarcinoma:
- Smoking: This is the main cause of any type of cancer including adenocarcinoma.
- Toxin Exposure: Harmful exposure to different types of toxins leads to the development of adenocarcinoma.
- Radiation Therapy: Those who have taken radiation therapy have a higher risk of developing adenocarcinoma.
Symptoms of Common Adenocarcinoma
Breast cancer appears as a lump that is felt in the breast and the armpit. It is mostly painless, but not always. Symptoms of breast cancer include:
- Swelling in breast
- Change in breast size and shape
- Discharge from the nipple which can also be bloody
- Retraction of the nipple
- Red and scaly skin of the nipple
Colorectal cancer, if not grown big enough does not cause any symptoms. It can be found in the early screening test.
These cancers can lead to blood in stool that may not even be visible to naked eyes. Gradually there can be enough visible bright red or maroon blood.
Symptoms of colorectal cancer include:
Just like colorectal in which the symptoms are not visible in the early stages, pancreatic cancer does not show symptoms until cancer advances.
The symptoms of pancreatic cancer include:
Lung cancer starts with persistent coughing along with blood-tinged sputum and by the time the symptoms appear the cancer is usually in advanced stages. The symptoms of lung cancer include:
The symptoms of prostate cancer start showing up in the advanced stages and include:
How is Adenocarcinoma Diagnosed?
The test to be performed depends on the medical history, physical examination, and the location of cancer.
The Common Diagnostic Test In Cancer Include:
- Biopsy: In this test, a sample of abnormal mass is taken and a microscope is used to determine the presence of cancerous cells. This test can also determine whether the cells started at the location or are of metastasis.
- CT Scan: CT scan gives the 3-dimensional image of the area where the abnormal mass is present.
- MRI: This test gives detailed images of the organ of the body and allows a view of the place of mass or abnormal tissue.
- Mammograms and ultrasound help in detecting breast cancer.
- Bronchoscopy, cytology, mediastinoscopy, and thoracentesis can be helpful in determining lung cancer.
- ERCP, endoscopic ultrasound, and paracentesis are the test performed to determine pancreatic cancer.
- Prostate cancer can be determined by prostate-specific antigen and transrectal ultrasound.
Treatment of Adenocarcinoma
There are 3 main treatments for Adenocarcinoma:
- Surgery: This involves the removal of cancer and the surrounding tissue.
- Chemotherapy: This treatment involves injecting intravenous medication to destroy the cancer cells in the body.
- Radiation Therapy: This therapy destroys the cancer cells of a particular location.
Immunotherapy: This is another type of treatment in which the medications that support the immune system are used to kill cancer.
The treatment is chosen according to the location of the cancer, type of tumor, size, and characteristics.
The prognosis of adenocarcinoma depends on the type of cancer, its location, and size. Cancers that show symptoms in their later stages are usually the ones that are more fatal.